NBA: Should the Los Angeles Lakers Be Concerned Right Now?

They currently hold the third-best record in the Western Conference, they are eight-and-a-half games behind the Spurs and were sitting in roughly the same position last year, stat- and record-wise, as they are right now.

And yet everyone is calling for changes and players to be traded away, specifically Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.

However, I believe, for the most part, the team's core itself is fine. This is just what happens after winning back-to-back championships and suffering through some injuries.

The team is no stranger to adversity, and if the last two years were any proof, they will be able to get over it on their quest for a third straight championship. Andrew Bynum has held up decently so far this season with his numbers not taking much of a dip, even after missing two months of action.

One of the problems that I feel that needs to be addressed after watching several games versus some of the top-tier teams—potential playoff matches—is a lack of ball control turning into turnovers, weak half-court defense and the lack of desire to finish out games. The Lakers do not come off as 100 percent focused each and every game, and they will need to be if they want that third straight ring.

They currently have one of the best closers in the game in Kobe Bryant; however, they have struggled down the stretch in the fourth quarter, ultimately costing them some key victories, which could have drastically changed their record for the better.

The Lakers have nine wins against the current top eight teams, compared to five losses. They have wins over Oklahoma City and Portland, are even against Denver at one apiece and winless against San Antonio and Dallas. Several potential playoff matchups are at stake here, with games down the road that will be key in ensuring advancement in the postseason.

Another issue is the defense down in the paint, strongly highlighted by Antonio McDyess' game-winning...

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